Monday, 3 June 2013
What's your excuse?
Among the other unpleasant aspects of infertility treatment is needing to explain your absence from work during your appointments. It is particularly hard for anyone who has any type of scheduled clients, meetings or visits. Not only do you feel guilty about the fact that your absence is affecting others, but there's a public record for everyone in your office to view, and thus wonder why you need to be excused so frequently.
I hate having to lie. I'm not very good at it, and I fear that I'll get caught. I often work out the details of my back story with precision, trying to determine what type of flaws could be exposed. It's hard to find the right balance. If you don't provide any reasoning, it looks questionable, but if your alibi comes across as being too rehearsed or too specific in the details, that can also arouse suspicions.
Sometimes I don't give any explanation; my recent IUIs have been scheduled at 11:30, so I'll have a hold placed on my appointment slots after 11:00 and I'll just offer that I need to leave early. It's been a little harder for some of my monitoring appointments, which tend to be scheduled mid-morning and require me to leave and return in the same session. I feel a little more obligated to justify why I'm slipping out for only an hour. Fortunately, as I have really bad teeth, dental appointments have been my default excuse. The irony is that I haven't been to the dentist for a routine cleaning in nearly a year and I'm looking for a new dentist that works nights or weekends, as I can't take any time off from work for a dental appointment, even if it is legit.
Two years ago, I had a failed root canal that eventually required an implant, so I've been able to repeat that history. Routine cleaning finds a cavity. Need to go back for follow up X-rays. Dentist determines it needs a root canal -refers to endodontist. Endodontist thinks a root canal will only be temporary, recommends implant. Oral surgeon agrees proceeding with implant is the best course. That back story bought me five absences. Unfortunately, it's reached the end of the line as the next step of the implant process involves extracting the tooth and 6 months later installing the implant. When I actually had it done, I took the rest of the day off as my mouth was packed with gauze. I can't fake the effects of the transient Bell's palsy that comes with having dental procedures preformed.
Although there are a few people at work who know the truth behind my departures, at times I've been tempted to completely come clean, just so I don't have to lie any more. Then I remember that there is a reason I've only been open with a few selected individuals. I don't want everyone I work with to know such an intimate detail in my life and I don't want my work colleagues to follow my treatments and to be able to ask, "so, are you pregnant yet?"
So now I'm trying to be creative and think up new excuses. One day it was because we were getting our alarm service inspected. When I was leaving DC recently, my connecting flight was held up on the Tarmac for over an hour. Last year, I was bumped off a flight and had to cancel an entire day's schedule of patients due to my delay. I thought it might actually happen again, and although I made my flight, I contemplated claiming that I didn't, just so I could cancel out my morning. It would have been nice, I could swim, go home and get cleaned up before my RE appointment and then go into the office early and catch up on results and messages before the afternoon session. I would feel too guilty about cancelling on patients at the last minute (many who have also budgeted time from work) and I would be too fearful of getting caught, especially as I once nearly ran into our office manager coming out of my RE's office. However, I still could exploit the situation. I claimed that I did miss my connecting flight, but was able to get on another flight that arrived at a nearby airport. My bag however was on the re-routed flight and I needed to leave to pick it up as it arrived off the carousel.
I do hope I get pregnant soon. Otherwise, I'll have used up all my potential excuses by the time I need to be dismissed for prenatal appointments.